Jeff Green | Apr 17, 2019
Doug Kennedy did not know about the 7 Days in May fundraiser for Pancreatic Cancer Canada, but he knows all about cycling on Easter Ontario Roadways.
Kennedy operates his business, Frontenac Docks, out of his home on Oak Flats Road near the Frontenac Community Arena. He is an avid cyclist who has seen his share of danger and disdain from motorised vehicles over the years while cycling on small and larger roads in Frontenac, L&A and beyond.
The 7 Days in May fundraiser is pretty extreme as charitable events go. Participants who commit to the entire 7 days cycle around Lake Ontario, starting and ending the ride in Mississauga. The average ride per day is an ‘imperial century’ 100 miles (160km)
“The level of effort involved in a one-hundred-mile cycle is roughly equivalent to running a marathon. So doing the whole ride is like running a marathon each day for seven consecutive days,” said Doug Kennedy, when interviewed at his home/shop last week.
Kennedy heard about the ride the way many others in the region did. Last May 27, on the second day of the 7 days in May event, a number of cyclists were helping one their party who had suffered a crash and injury when passing over some road work on Bath Road in Amherstview.
A van had slowed down as it passed the cyclists and a car tried to speed by the van on the inside and hit several of the cyclists. Jeff Vervaike, 42, was seriously injured and later died in hospital.
“It really struck home with me. I cycle myself so I know what some drivers are like, and when I read that Jeff Vervaike was participating in a charitable rider raising money for Pancreatic Cancer research it really hit me.”
As a member of the Kingston cycling community. Kennedy learned about a memorial service for Jeff Vervaike that was being planned for July 13 of last year. The memorial service took place at a spot on Bath Road near where the accident had occurred. A ghost bike, painted white, was installed there as a permanent marker.
“Myself and my wife Eleanor participated in the ride and ceremony,” said Kennedy.
After the ceremony, the Kennedys went on a 90-kilometre ride with the 7 Days in May cyclists.
“I had the opportunity to meet these people. I was very moved by their dedication and knew I couldn’t be a bystander anymore. So, I decided to do the 2019 ride with them to raise money. Not everyone can put aside 7 days for the ride, and there are other options. May is my busy season, but I have decided to ride for two days, from Mississauga to Cobourg, and then Cobourg to Kingston,” he said.
On the weekend of May 25 and 26, Doug Kennedy will ride two imperial centuries as part of this year’s 7 Days in May. And he is encouraging all of his friends, neighbours, and all Frontenac County residents to help by sponsoring his ride.
“It doesn’t have to be much. If 200 people put in $20, that adds up,” he said.